LBCF 1689 Reflections. Part 166

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Reflections on the Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689


23 Aug 14 began a perhaps unbroken, orderly, and personal journey through my favorite written confession of faith. These are my personal reflections on this beloved historic Particular Baptist confession of the Christian Faith.




Chapter 19. “Of the Law of God.” Paragraph 3a: “Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, his graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties…”


I’ve seen a threefold division of the Mosaic Law spoken of for some time in many theological circles. It’s possible to consider it as moral, ceremonial and civil. Between paragraphs two and four of this chapter of the confession all three parts of that division will be addressed. This tri-part division has helped me understand much of how that Law set forth the person and teachings of Jesus in every era. When Paul writes that, “the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ” in Galatians 3:24 it means all of it. All three parts of the Law. Every joy and every tittle make up one system. Neither Moses nor the Hebrews divided the Law in this way definitively. It was developed among one people with one common experience and community. By New Testament furtherance, we now see a necessity to divide the Law in a few ways to understand its import to us beyond that people. The “Moral Law” has already been addressed in paragraph two. This is the Ten Commandments. I think of them as a type of federal law over all the state law. Then we have 603 other commandments given to be divided further into what we call the “ceremonial” and “civil” laws. Paragraph three here briefly addresses ceremonial laws. Priesthood and worship laws.


All of the Law points to Christ himself. The Law is not as a mere prediction of Christ, but it finds its full purpose in the way that it colors in our understanding of Jesus. It “prefigures” him. This is a great term. In teaching some kids in AWANA last night, I leaned over in the sanctuary and made a complex shadow on the steps in front of them. I explained what we could know from it. That I was a man, perhaps overweight a little, if I had something in my hand, if I was wearing a large jacket or crown, etc. Then I explained how Jesus filled in that shadow’s outline perfectly in his life. He’s the substance of all that the Law’s part “prefigured.”


There are a thousand lessons taught to us in these laws. They make God’s people very peculiar. I constantly come back to the idea that they convey one overarching theme for me as a New Testament member and that’s that I have a God very specific in his prescriptions. That I don’t just approach him however I see fit. They needed the priests. That priesthood was done away with in the superior priesthood of one man, the Man Christ Jesus. I approach God now not loosely or however I want to, but through a very very specifically accomplished grace.

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